Frugal living: Is it for You?

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Frugal living:  A Choice

© 2011, 2013  by Raymond Alexander Kukkee  
Collections: Ideas

Life Choices  big and Small                       photo © rakukkee

 

  "Happiness is a state of mind that can be enjoyed, regardless of economic status.

Can a frugal living style bring Happiness?

Do you live an unhappy, excessive  lifestyle?  Do you wish you could back out and convert to a  sensible, simpler life but have nagging doubts that  you could be happy doing so?

 In our modern society, it takes maturity, or in some instances even an unexpected, alternative life-changing  event  to  recognize that happiness is not  generated by the accumulation of wealth as many believe,  --but only by the larger number of  choices it offers.  With that discovery, if one is used to a lavish lifestyle with all the benefits, can living more frugally bring happiness?

Living frugally, doing away with the expensive and the unnecessary, may require  giving up any number of attractive, comfortable  perks  such as high-end  new cars, excessively large  homes in exclusive neighborhoods, designer  clothing, and private schools.  The adjusted  lifestyle may  no longer include endless  travel, exotic vacations,  high-end entertainment and a philosophy of “nothing but the best”.

To live poorly as a single, forced economic choice by circumstance surely results in stress, emotional loss and unhappiness.  Paradoxically, the voluntary giving up of expensive, unnecessary lifestyle choices and the pursuit of frugal living can actually result in  happiness and contentment.Why?

Happiness is a State of Mind

Happiness is a state of mind that can be enjoyed, regardless of economic status.

Intelligent human beings enjoy believing they are in  control of their lives. A lifestyle chosen willingly, even a frugal lifestyle, is inherently more enjoyable than lack of choice or circumstance forced upon you. Being capable of making that choice in itself is substantially pleasing, and that ability ultimately induces happiness and suggests self-fulfillment.

Altering Your Reality to one of Frugal living

Frugality, if examined logically, may be demonstrated as a matter of  relativity.  A down-sized home may be an  excellent three bedroom ranch home  instead of the inherited 12-room estate with 2-acre  conservatory, tennis court  and swimming pool.  The  Ferrari can be replaced with a sensible Volvo wagon, Volkswagen beetle, or in the extreme, a bicycle.  

Personal  consumption can be  altered to  frugality -or at least closer to a  sensible alternative,  by  choosing ordinary good quality clothing instead of designer clothing,  eating fewer  restaurant meals, entertaining small groups of genuine friends, and replacing expensive habits with simple but satisfying choices.   A good example might be having excellent, home-prepared meals instead of paying superficial, outrageous prices for sub-standard meals at high-end restaurants.  Choosing  a frugal lifestyle does not preclude or eliminate all aspects of the enjoyable life you have become used to, but merely making sound, and often better choices that are sensible and appropriate given the circumstances and desired outcome.

 The benefits achievable from choosing frugality are many.  Personal happiness is one of them, but the status of happiness can be substantially magnified by adapting a simple, benevolent, giving attitude, as opposed to anxiously hoarding and flaunting  wealth which invariably  induces personal stress. 

 The anxiety of keeping up with the neighbors in that upper-class section of town may even be a negative health factor.  The  sensible choice of a more frugal and common sense  lifestyle can substantially increase one’s  health by  reducing  blood pressure, relieving  anxiety, and eating a simpler, healthier  diet.

 Protection of exotic, expensive personal property becomes less of an issue in a more frugal lifestyle.  Lavish homes are inevitably a target for burglary just as expensive vehicles are prime targets whether they sit on the street or in the garage behind a high-tech security system.   Elimination of excessive personal assets can be a substantial stress-reliever --and help others in the process.

 Interestingly, a lavish lifestyle also requires ever more money  to sustain itself.  Insurance for a Ferrari  is prohibitively more expensive than insurance for a Beetle or bike. Insurance rates to protect against  theft, vandalism and  replacement value skyrocket in lush neighborhoods. As an estate homeowner, little choice is offered to you but to provide the best and most expensive security system possible. Thieves do not waste time robbing modest homes.  

Choosing a frugal lifestyle can bring happiness simply because it is less bothersome with fewer demands made upon spouses, families or even related individuals.    In choosing frugality,   is no longer necessary to “keep up” appearances economically or emotionally. 

How is that worthy  goal achieved?  

With thoughtful and careful effort, a systematic downsizing of assets can be achieved reasonably in a timely manner.  Contrary to popular belief, to do so it is not necessary to live poorly, sacrifice  self-respect, personal values, or  individuality.  In fact, the opposite occurs. In practice, personal self-esteem can be substantially  increased as you choose a healthier, more satisfying and active lifestyle under fewer demands.  There are clearly benefits to living frugally if you are willing to make the sensible choices required.

Bottom line, if managed logically and with reason, frugality can bring much personal happiness to you, loved ones, friends  and your family--even total strangers.

Is that Incoming I hear?

 

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